Alfredo Del-Penho: Samba Só

June 10, 2019

A Most Democratic Album

Listening Post 205. As a title, Samba Só (Samba Alone), works in only the most intimate sense: One man’s voice and guitar. But Alfredo Del-Penho—singer, composer, actor, music scholar and veteran of Rio de Janeiro’s samba houses—freely admits the album name is otherwise in jest: Samba is never alone. “It’s not so much a music genre as the story of a people,” he said in a recent interview. Samba is a society with its own clubs, rituals and holidays, and as much as it’s an expression of Brazilian culture, Del-Penho added a layer of democracy with a series of shows at which he introduced 25 new songs and distributed ballots so audience members could vote on their favorites for his third solo release. The 15 tracks that made the cut represent a range of subgenres—including samba-canção, samba de terreiro and a generous helping of bossa nova. Never really unaccompanied, he also has a small society of friends who wrote lyrics for 11 of the melodies. But if samba performance is rarely singular, it often starts alone, and the album’s lead track, Desengaiola (Uncaged) uses a bird flying free as a metaphor for the creative process (video 1). The ensuing songs mostly occupy love’s downhill slope. In Depois da Hora (Late), Del-Penho sings Joyce Moreno’s feminine lyric about a date that begins badly (video 2), while finality is manifest in Não Há Mais Espaço pra Nossa Amizade (No Room Left for Our Romance, video 3). All chatty syncopated humor, Quando Te Esqueci (When I Forgot You), is another title delightfully struggling for precision (video 4). One song escapes the troubled romance paradigm: Tudo É Milagre (Everything Is a Miracle) projects a toddler’s-eye view of the world. And with his smooth, tender voice, seven-string guitar and deep investment in samba’s history, Del-Penho offers fresh sambas that give a century-old movement another childhood. (Tratore)


Music: Alfredo Del-Penho/Lyrics: Pedro Miranda

(from the Portuguese lyrics)
Let this little bird come, land, nest/Snuggle in the palm of your hand
And the melody will come as from a hummingbird/A goldfinch or a thrush
Let your heart guide you, take off/Unleash the inspiration
And like the bird, good sir/That needs to be free to be able to fly

If it’s real, penetrating, beautiful/I ask you: why have any doubt?
If a tanager comes to you, without thinking/Let it drink from your emotion
And drinking from that source/The pure gold will spread love to the wide world
As someone else hears your message in a song.


Depois da Hora/Late
Music: Alfredo Del-Penho/Lyrics: Joyce Moreno

You apologized/For arriving late, yes
Late for our rendezvous/It upset me
You see, that’s why it’s all over
Okay, not everything…/I’m still sitting here
Waiting for an explanation, so tell me/If there’s a good excuse for what happened

You made so many promises and I believed you/I thought finally I was a queen for my king
But look what happened/You came too late
I called, you didn’t answer/You didn’t call back, you didn’t show up
And now you tell me your cell phone died?

(You didn’t understand me…)


Não Há Mais Espaço pra Nossa Amizade/No Room Left for Our Romance
Music: Alfredo Del-Penho/Lyrics: Chico César

I know, there’s no room left for our romance/Where love once lived, resentment has moved in
I can’t deal with the bitterness that separates us/To be honest, I prefer distance to the random shots we’re taking

Friends and friends of friends, people I do not even know/Come and tell me that I deserve this because I’m at fault, too
And I was wrong to see beauty in the weeds/I opened my soul to… who knows where it came from

It’s not that I care so much about what others say/But there’s just no room left for our romance


Quando Te Esqueci/When I Forgot You
Music & Lyrics: Alfredo Del-Penho

I can finally say: I forgot you today/After so long, I did it
Well… I mean
Starting off in the morning when I woke up/But I couldn’t not remember
Dreaming what I dreamed/That’s why I was startled
Looking for you in bed, crazy/Crazy thinking that you were still there by my side

So, more precise to say I almost forgot you/There are also certain things for which I’m not responsible
Like this afternoon on the street when I heard that sweet young thing mewing just like you
I called “Tulip,” and she answered!
Two kittens with that name in Rio and Minas!?!/My God, how unlucky can you get!

This is a serious samba, so I can’t lie/The right thing, then, is to say that I almost didn’t forget you
Nor could I
I got a fright last night, there on the corner/I swear I thought you were that girl
Except she was short and dark/Didn’t even look like you
But I miss you when I see anyone passing by/And there are people who think it’s funny

I’ll confess: you haven’t left my memory
There’s my rough samba that won’t let me lie/If by chance you remember me, too
Let me know, since I’m not forgetting you/Let me know and I’ll come running!


1 Comment

  1. Jeff Meshel

    😢 [image: image.png]

    On Tue, Jun 11, 2019 at 2:27 AM World Listening Post wrote:

    > atigay posted: ” A Most Democratic Album Listening Post 205. As a title, > Samba Só (Samba Alone), works in only the most intimate sense: One man’s > voice and guitar. But Alfredo Del-Penho—singer, composer, actor, music > scholar and veteran of Rio de Janeiro’s samba ho” >


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